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Thread: Purchasing my first Ukulele

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    23

    Default Purchasing my first Ukulele

    Hi guys, I've been browsing through this forum lately, and I was actually brought here by someone's youtube video that had this link.

    Anyways, I'm in the market for my first ukulele and I'm just trying to get some insight on what brands or models that people might recommend through experience.

    Before I start, I used to play the trumpet during my youth years, but haven't played in maybe 4 years. I'm hoping some of my music knowledge(whatever is left of it) will help me with learning the ukulele. I plan to teach myself through free tutorials online and as well as through videos.

    I'm basically looking for a Soprano classic size Ukulele, and I'm actually quite overwhelemed with all the different brands and wood. I understand that it requires some time to check out the instruments in person and play them and see how they sound. But if someone can recommend a brand or model through their own personal experience, I would greatly appreciate it. I'm sure certain people have dealt with some common problems with certain brands, and have had a great experience with others. I'm looking for recommendations on my first very soprano to learn with, making it a rather enjoyable experience than one that will make me put the ukulele in my closet because it was unplayable or ran into many problems.

    My budget is $150, I don't need something thats top of the line, but wouldn't mind paying a bit extra for something that will last me, and make learning the uke a fun experience rather than cheaping out.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Location
    Paris, France
    Posts
    307

    Default

    The Bruko Slim are a good compromise between a low price and a quality instrument.
    Link to Bruko °5 or
    Link to Bruko Slim maple
    It's 115€ witch is a it less than 150$, you can hear it HERE.
    I've tried it several times, and it was hard for me not to buy it, it has a huge sound projection for it's tiny body.
    Hope it will help you,

    CouS
    Music is an universal language
    www.youtube.com/ukucous
    Kanile'a K1 Tenor : Lea
    EleUke Rosewood Tenor

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    23

    Default

    I'm thinking about the OHANA SK-50MG Soprano. Does anyone have any experience regarding this model??

    MGM also sells it
    http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ITEM-OHANA-S...742.m153.l1262

    Besides that, I was also looking at the KALA KA ASMS soprano offered from MGM's store as well. Both are actually the same price
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Kala-ka-asms-SOL...QQcmdZViewItem

    based on experience, which one would you guys recommend as the better model / brand / build


    EDIT: I really dont know much about tuners, but so far based on my readings, more people prefer the GEARED SIDE TUNERS than the FRICTION TUNERS. The KALA model listed above has the geared tuners, so I plan to go with that one. Any suggestions?
    Last edited by mike_terror; 03-11-2009 at 11:49 PM.

  4. #4
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    Apr 2008
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    try guess
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    Default

    for a starter uke in that price range, you really cant go wrong with a kala. Youre at the right place in MGM's shop. i havent played an Ohana, but i started on a kala, and it was just fine. beware though, any one of your choices will leave you thirsting for more.

    and i do recommend the geared tuners. youll find its much much easier to fine tune the instrument.
    Last edited by Kaneohe til the end; 03-11-2009 at 11:55 PM.
    "It`s great to want to be part of something, but it`s a different thing completely to believe wholly in some type of movement, and to give everything for that something."
    -Brandon Boyd, Incubus

  5. #5

    Default

    The solid mahogany is a perfect first uke!
    Just do yourself a HUGE favor and get one from someone who's gonna give ya a setup and knows ukes.

    MGM
    ukulele4u
    elderly

    I recently got a "deal" from a guitar dude and now I have a nut made of superglue (looks horrible, but sounds nice).

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
    Location
    Paradise Hills, San Diego
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    205

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Los Angeles - The Foothills
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    3,973

    Default I vote Kala

    I have had my first uke only a few weeks now, but I'm very happy with my Kala tenor. I had tried some really nice looking/sounding Ohanas, but the action was set a bit high, and would need adjustment. Maybe with the right set up they would be perfect.

    Try and get your hands on one in a store, and make sure you can be comfortable playing all the way up the fretboard. I am looking at sopranos with long necks, and both Kala and Ohana make those.

    The choice of strings will make a difference too. I replaced the GHS strings that came on my Kala with clear Worths, and it sounds brighter.

    I went back to the music stores a few days ago to check out the selection (UAS... got it bad), but ended up liking my Kala better than the higher end ukes in the store. I had cash to buy, if I saw something that knocked my socks off, but my uke at home sounded just as good (if not better to me). I escaped this time, and should be satisfied for awhile. But new models are coming....


    –Lori

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Tenn.
    Posts
    263

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by mike_terror View Post
    I'm thinking about the OHANA SK-50MG Soprano. Does anyone have any experience regarding this model??

    MGM also sells it
    http://cgi.ebay.com/NEW-ITEM-OHANA-S...742.m153.l1262

    Besides that, I was also looking at the KALA KA ASMS soprano offered from MGM's store as well. Both are actually the same price
    http://cgi.ebay.com/Kala-ka-asms-SOL...QQcmdZViewItem

    based on experience, which one would you guys recommend as the better model / brand / build


    EDIT: I really dont know much about tuners, but so far based on my readings, more people prefer the GEARED SIDE TUNERS than the FRICTION TUNERS. The KALA model listed above has the geared tuners, so I plan to go with that one. Any suggestions?
    I think if you stick with something MGM has to offer you will be happy....I bought a tenor from him & the setup is great....To me that's whats important when buying a low end instrument....Your not going to get the perfect tone but with mgm you'll definately get good action & upgraded strings!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    23

    Default

    Thanks for all your great insight guys.

    I think I will bite the bullet and go with the KALA solid mohangany that is offered from MGM. Only $189


    Btw, sorry for the newbie question, but what is a "nut" for the ukulele. I read many post regarding people having to change the nut or replace it because they ran into problems with it on their uke.

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
    Posts
    24

    Default

    I was in the exact same boat as you about 1 week ago... too much information and tough to make a decision.

    The first decision was size - and I was originally leaning towards a Tenor but this forum helped convince me a concert would be a better way to go for a beginner... (I thought a tenor would be easier because it was bigger - not so!)

    The second decision was to go with solid wood... if you can afford it that seemed to be a given.

    Third was looks and quality... would have loved a Koa but too much $$$. I really liked the Koa Pili Kala (KPK) with the Accacia wood (like Koa) but there are too many quality issues I read about (cracking).

    I went to several stores and tried the Kala and they were great - but for not much more $$$ I found i could get solid wood.

    I ended up purchasing a Mainland Concert Uke... I felt it was a lot more for the money than the Kala - even though it cost a little more. solid wood - great craftsmanship. Something that feels like I can grow into it and will last long term... I really liked the idea of ordering directly from them and not going through third parties...

    The service and attention from Mainland when I ordered it were very very good and I am very very pleased with my purchase.

    Last thing you need is more information and more Ukes to consider - but I thought you might benefit from experience.

    Here is a nice review: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovc4MsISep4 - there are several other great youtube reviews on the Mainland and others... take a look at the mainland tenor review...!

    Good Luck

    p.s.: I'm learning on my own following online tutorials/videos - many here in UU and some others. Let me know which ones you like and your experience - I'll do the same!
    Last edited by luigidk; 03-12-2009 at 10:33 AM.

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